Other posts from the On a visit to.. series:
- On a visit to… Katie aka The travelling light, Brisbane (Australia)
- On a visit to… Krystal Lynn, Albuquerque (NM, USA)
- On a visit to… Ali Kamenova LA (California, USA)
It is always so nice to dive into someone else creative project. It feels like entering into some very personal place. If you are not here for the first time you know how much we love photography as a way of expression. Taming the light isn’t easy at all but our next guest is doing it with such ease. When you see her photographs you have that feeling like traveling through time is possible, or like you are part of a Renaissance historical novel. Through her lens, you can smell the coffee, and feel the taste of the pear cake in your mouth, or hearing the sound on the streets which she shoots.
I am so happy to present to you – Marie-Louise Moutafchieva, an artistic and delicate soul. Marie-Louise is a Bulgarian-Canadian photographer, based in Toronto, Canada. She will take us for a long walk in her hometown and will give us some local tips and tricks. For anyone who plans to visit Canada, this interview is especially for you. Marie-Louise’s keen eye for magical details can be seen not only in her photography projects but in this very interesting interview, as well.
Another interview, another happy moment for me, and so much gratitude that I meet so many wonderful people along this journey. Enjoy!
“Despite the illusion of giving understanding, what seeing through photographs really invites is an acquisitive relation to the world that nourishes aesthetic awareness and promotes emotional detachment.”
How do you imagine the ideal “om trip”?
A countryside destination where you can connect with nature, away from the big city.
Is it possible to take an “om trip” to Toronto?
Yes, I believe so. Toronto for a large North American city, is lucky to have many green parks to take a break from the hectic street scene. Sometimes you can even catch a group of people practicing tai chi or yoga.
Three things which we absolutely have to take with us when we travel to this part of the world.
when I am traveling to the city, I always have my headphones to listen to music while commuting on public transport
a good book
How to look like the locals?
There is no certain style since Toronto is a very diverse city with a mix of cultures, so you can dress as you wish. But in the winter it is a MUST to bundle up with warm coats, hats, scarfs, and boots as our winters can get quite cold.
What should we absolutely try when we’re in Toronto?
Where would you take us to have a cup of coffee/or tea?
My favourite place is Forno Cultura, an Italian bakery where you will find a modern twist on traditional Italian pastries, biscottis, bread, paninis, and the like. The owner, Maestro Andrera as they call him, only uses the best quality products and flours which is excellent in today’s world. For me, this is one of the best places in the city to stop for a delicious espresso or cappuccino with your lunch and of course, finish off your afternoon with something sweet!
A special place in Toronto you’d like to share with us.
The city’s Harbourfront and the path around Lake Ontario is always great for a pleasant walk
A visit to Toronto’s St. Lawrence market, operating for over 200 years with many vendors selling fresh produce and everything to do with food. If you want to shop authentic food your best experience will be here 🙂
We can’t travel around without stopping by some galleries and museums. Tell us which are your favorites?
My favourite art gallery and the largest collection of art in Toronto is the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO). It houses levels of all genres of art from Ancient artifacts, Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures, and Canadian art.
Another one is the Royal Ontario Museum where you can discover more art, culture, natural history from around the world from prehistoric to the current day.
Which book do you think will be most suitable for our trip to Toronto?
It’s difficult for me to say a specific book to relate to Toronto but I would highly recommend “The Measure of My Powers: A Memoir of Food, Misery, and Paris” by Canadian author Jackie Kai Ellis. A pleasant memoir written by a pastry chef who owns a French-inspired bakery in Vancouver, British Columbia, and decides to move to Paris, France following a series of events and thanks to the kitchen which helped save her life. She also includes a few recipes in the book!
Do you practice yoga? Where would you take us for a yoga practice in Toronto? Where can we practice yoga outdoors?
I practice yoga most of the time on my own and recently discovered Boho Beautiful videos to be very beneficial. But when I do go to a studio I visit 889 Community. Their studio and instructors create a very relaxing and calm atmosphere, I always leave my class feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of my day with positivity. In the summertime, they also offer free rooftop yoga classes open to everyone, and it’s a great opportunity to meet some new fellow yoga enthusiasts 🙂 We have several large parks where I have seen groups of people practicing yoga, and it’s always nice to do so outside in green spaces breathing in the fresh air.
As a photographer, the main part of your job is to create some visuals. What do you think has influenced you the most in shaping your unique style?
Travel has influenced my work through the years, being exposed to various cultures, lifestyles, food scenes, and even people.
I also had the opportunity to attend a couple food photography workshops, both here in Toronto and abroad.
Recently, cooking/baking and food, in general, has been a major influence, especially the process before the finished product.
Can photography can be defined as your zen moment? What brings you this moment of stillness?
Yes, at times photography can be my moment of zen. I had never really thought about it in this way but sometimes it definitely is a good break between everyday life. It really does make me see things from a different perspective, a helper in finding beauty even in the smallest details.
Can you describe your life here and now with just one photograph?
Where do you find inspiration and what makes you happy? Tell us about your recipe for happiness.
I tend to repeat this motto quite often but it’s true. My happiness and inspiration come from the little moments in life. Whether that is enjoying a cup of coffee with a piece of cake or watching how my garden flowers blossom in the springtime. As of recently, I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen baking and testing out new recipes and I would say this has further developed the creative direction in my photography work. My recipe for happiness is to always believe in yourself and enjoy the smallest gestures life brings; the smiles, the love, laughter, and excellent food. And speaking about food, another recipe to my happiness is Tiramisu! I guarantee you it is the best remedy for any day.
You travel a lot. Tell us about your healthy routines on the road.
I try to stick to my regular regime as I would back home, in terms of what and how I would eat. When I travel I always love visiting the local open-air markets and buy fruits and vegetables in season to cook with for my meals. I always maintain small portions of everything so you can still enjoy the local cuisine of the place I am visiting. As well when traveling, I walk a lot wherever possible, as its also one of the best ways to discover those little hidden gems.
Where should we go after visiting Toronto?
Quebec City, Quebec. It’s like visiting the European side of Canada.
MarieLou is a freelance photographer based in Toronto. She is passionate to create beauty of every day & small moments in life, primarily with a focus on food, styling, and lifestyle. Throughout her travels, she finds what most influences her work is observing the historical background, community, and culture from each place. She strongly believes food is life and is what motivates her as an artist. During the creative process, MarieLou uses her eye for photography as a form of storytelling and enjoys sharing the experiences of every beautiful moment.